Around the World in 80 Seconds: From Prague to Seoul…
Last month saw One Nucleus cementing our international relations further. As our mission is to help our members maximise their global competitiveness, a significant pillar of our work is collaborating with relevant organisations, institutes and companies outside the UK.
As many of our readers will know, we have our formal and much enjoyed relations with MassBIO, BayBIO, BIOCOM and MassMedic in the US, and a strong set of friendships and working partnerships with like-minded cluster organisations in Europe. In October we hosted visits from both BioM (the Munich based membership organisation) and Stockholm/Uppsala Life Sciences. Our event programme regularly features international speakers, members and collaborators and of course we have our upcoming Genesis Conference on 9 December which will see visitors from over 25 markets including 20 Commercial Officers from Embassies and Consulates around the world. If you haven’t yet registered for Genesis, do click here.
The reason for this blog though is to particularly bring to our readers attention two recent overseas trips. One by Tony Jones, our Director of Business Development, to South Korea, at the invitation of KOTRA and the second a trip by our CEO Harriet Fear to the Czech Republic. Their ‘findings’ are below:
South Korea by Dr Tony Jones, Director Business Development One Nucleus:
The rationale behind accepting the kind invitation was two-fold:
- First, it provided a useful platform through which to promote the excellence of the UK Life science sector to industry, academia and policy makers in South Korea
- Second, it appeared an effective mechanism to gain first hand insight into the current and changing dynamics of the South Korean Health and Life sciences scene which I could then report back to our members considering the potential of that market.
One thing that was a recurring theme is the feeling amongst Korean companies I met that their regulatory environment is one of the most challenging, suggesting it may be tougher than the FDA or EMA. This needs to be explored further by anyone considering development there. The stringent regulatory message had to be balanced against the fact that to date the traditional medicine space has been very lightly regulated, so the local perception may be different.
What was striking was the progress being made – especially in areas such as antibody engineering and biosimilars which are clearly a target field for the sector there. It was by happy coincidence that making up the KOTRA-sponsored party from the UK to Osong were Global Regulatory Services (a great One Nucleus member), so some sanity checking over dinner was on hand to correct the framework of my thinking. There may also be lessons about infrastructure development we can take away from the experience. If you are interested in reviewing the current regulatory landscape and developments, I would recommend the Ministry of Food and Drug safety web site at http://www.mfds.go.kr/eng/index.do which is comprehensive.
It is incredible the progress that the South Korean Government has made over the last decade or so in developing the Osong BioValley in the Chungcheongbuk-do Province, about 90 minutes from Seoul by KTX train. Large investment and coordinated infrastructure planning has seen the cluster develop with large R&D and clinical research capacity and the locating of regulators (KFDA) and other relevant Government departments there is attracting companies and much attention. Further thoughts sparked by observing this development are summarised here via the One Nucleus LinkedIn group recently.
The Czech Republic by Harriet Fear, CEO One Nucleus:
October saw me travel to the Czech Republic at the invitation of the British Ambassador to Prague to deliver a Keynote Speech at their GREAT Healthcare & Life Sciences Innovation Exchange conference.
The conference was one of a series of GREAT Health and Life Science Exchanges campaign events that UK Trade & Investment is organising in Central Europe. The aim was to:
- raise the profile and highlight the excellence of the UK Life Sciences sector in the Czech Republic
- support cooperation between business and academia to enhance their international cooperation
- build collaborations between Czech and UK scientists.
What I was struck most by in the discussions was the breadth and depth of Czech basic and applied research. Do click here for more details about this market which is very keen to collaborate with the UK, has fantastic science and is less than a two hour flight away!
For more information about the Czech market do contact Svatava Majkova in the British Embassy, Prague who leads on life sciences (firstname.lastname@example.org). Or book a meeting with her at Genesis on 9 December!